Bayelsa: Seriake Dickson Laughs Last As The Supreme Court declares Senator Diri the State Governor

By Suleiman Umaru

Former President Goodluck Jonathan,  who  was said to have worked assiduously with his  loyalists   against  Diri Douye ,a Senator of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria and   the people’s Democratic Party, PDP, Candidate, in the November 16, 2019, governorship election , in Bayelsa state may have shot himself on the leg.

   This is because the Supreme Court has diven the nod to the Professor Mahmud Yakubu  led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the Certificate of Return , given to David Lyon, the All Progressive Congress, APC,  governor  elect , which could have qualified him to be sworn in today, Friday, February 14, 2020, at Yenogoa, the state Capital.

 The apex Court was said to have also   ordered the Commissionto  issue a fresh Certificate of Return  to Diri, the PDP, flag bearer who should be sworn in as the governor of the state. Indeed, it was bad news, not only to the former First Family but also to the state  House Assembly members  and other  PDP elected Lawmakers at the National level who had decamped to the APC, in solidarity with the  former President and temipre Sylva, a former governor of the state and minister of state, and now Petroleum Resources minister who were  said to be instrumental to Lyon victory in the Bayelsa governorship election.

Note that the former President had reconciled with Sylva, his estranged  former political ally, to work  for the victory of Lyon, the APC , Candidate. This is evident , going by the performance  of the PDP and its governorship Candidate in a former President’s home state,  as shown by the result announced by the INEC, Returning officer .  the PDP performance  in  Ogbia, the  former President’s home local government Council  took many by surprise because of the protest vote against  the PDP Candidate which  led to  the party dismal  performance in  the Council.  Diri, the PDP, Candidate, was said  to have  polled  13,763  to Lyon, the APC, Candidate’s  58,016  votes in Ogbia local government Area.

Diri Duoye: Supreme Court Anointed Governor Of Bayelsa State

. The voting pattern was the same at Brass, Ekeremor,Nembe,southern  Ijaw, and Yenagoa   local government Areas  where the APC , trounced the PDP beyond measure.  The PDP, Candidate had lost with   very wide margins in Nembe local government alone. The APC , governorship Candidate, was said to have  scored 83,041 to 874 votes scored by Diri, showing a high level rigging in the Area.  The PDP, governorship Candidate, was said to have  won only  in two local government Areas of the state: Kolokuma/Opukuma and Sagbama, leaving six, to the APC.

This may have informed why Adams Oshiomhole, a Labour activist and former governor of Edo state and now National Chairman of the ruling APC, who had rejected the Supreme Court ruling on the Bayelsa state governorship election to say that going by the results of the election that was announced by INEC  in the state ‘’nobody  was qualified  to be sworn  as the governor of the state’’.

An aggrieved Oshiomhole had  told those that cares to listen that ‘’if Lyon, the party governor elect in the oil rich  state could not   be  sworn in as governor  and as the Candidate who  scored  the highest  number of votes spread in the eight local government Areas of the state , it simply  implies that  Friday,  February 14, 2020,  there will  be no government in Bayelsa state’’.

He noted that not even  the PDP  has met the Constitutional  requirement   for its Candidate , Diri, to be sworn in  as the governor of the state. According to him, the PDP Candidate  does not  have  25%  of the total  Lawful total votes cast in two-thirds of the eight local Areas of the state, an indication that he  did not merit to be sworn in as the governor of Byelsa state. 

Political watchers believe that that there is no way the  APC, which  was the Opposition party  could have made an in-road into the state without the endorsement of the APC Candidate by the former President.

  Seriake Dickson, the PDP  governor of the state, who many were expecting to hand over  to Lyon, the APC, Candidate, as the next  governor, may have been calm since  INEC, announced the state governorship election result, declaring Lyon, the APC, Candidate to be the  winner of the November 16, 2019, election in the state.  Armed with the forged Certificates of  Degi Eremieyo, Lyon’s  running  mate which qualifies him to  be anointed as the Lyon ‘s running mate, he knew the duo are going nowhere.

As  a  lawyer, he Knew that the Eremieyo baggage  will be  infectious to lyon becoming the governor of the state.  Moreso, the PDP leadership in the state had kept it a  closely guided secret and, had waited ,  for the  opportunity to drag the duo to Court to claim the party mandate. The opportunity  came  when the Electoral Umpire announced the overall  result, which had shown Lyon, the APC, Candidate as the winner of the election.  The case which  had  started from the state Election governorship Election Petition Tribunal had dragged on to the Supreme Court.

 The recent  ruling of the five-man Supreme Court Justices, led by Mary Odili, a Justice of the Supreme Court and wife of Peter Odili, a Medical Doctor and former governor of Rivers state which was that was  set up by Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, to look into the Bayelsa state governorship election petition, speaks volume.

  In a unanimous decision, by the Justices,  on Thursday, February 13, 20120, at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  that favoured   Diri, it became a source of  relief to Dickson, who was said to have prepred his hand over note, packed his bag and baggage, in readiness  to leave the Government House for Lyon.

 Going by the tradition  of a Hand –over from one government to another  both at the state and the national level, Lyon, the Bayelsa state , APC,  governor elect, was said to be  attending  the inauguration dress  rehearsal  to prepare his mind for the big event when the bad news was broken to him. The news was said to have affected  the party elaborate preparation for the event.The Value News learnt that he  had reached out  to the party leadership at the state and national level as he could not fathom out what was actually happening  but told to be calm.

Political Observers believe that if the PDP loyalysts who were in custody of the Lyon running mate  forged Certificate had opened up at that initial state and made it a Campaign issue, it would have worked  against Diri and the PDP as Lyon and the APC, elders, may have been forced to replace him with a nother Candidate.  This may have informed why the PDP Camp both at the state and the national level are jubilating over the Court ruling on the Bayelsa election.

 Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Opposition PDP, in the last general election  may have  set the ball rolling when  he expressed joy at the apex Court declaration over the Bayelsa election, stressing that ‘’it is a confirmation of the peoples mandate  freely given to Diri, the PDP, Candidate. He is optimistic that the incoming Administration will transform the state. 

Insiders informed the Magazine that the former President may have given the people a cause to worry over the PDP loss of the state at the last November governorship election  as he has  started  romancing with President Muammadu Buhari, of the ruling APC. Recall that he had visited the Katsina state born Nigerian President at the State House recently, where the duo were said to have held a closed door discussion.   

David Lyon: APC, Governor elect Sacked By The Supreme Court

Dame Patience Jonathan , the wife and a one-time First Lady, had  followed the former president’s foot step   as she was said to have  opened a channel of Communication with Hajia Aisha Buhari, the First Lady. The recent gathering of all the First Ladies  across the country both present and the  former,   to mark the 10th year remembrance of late   Maryan Babangida, a one –time First Lady and  wife of retired General Ibrahim Babangida, a formermilitary President, which was said to have been  organised by Aisha Babangida, the daughter, with the support of the current First Lady has  exposed  the Cordial relationship  between two First Families as the duo had private talks.

In spite of the fact, that the APC , leadership and their legal Team,  are working round the clock  to look at the  windows  that exist in the Law  in order to take steps  to ensure that the’’ will of the  people of Bayelsa state  are not undermined on the altars of technicalities’’, Nyesom Wike, the PDP , governor of Rivers state, who has become a thorn on the rulng APC, has called  on the Federal government to warn Oshiomhole, to ‘’stop  making inflammatory Statements capable of destabilising the country’’.

  The sacking of lyon ,the APC, governor elect, a few hours before his inauguration makes him the  first governor elect to be sacked by the CSupreme Court without testing the governorship Seat. The first peron to be sacked by the Court was Emeka Ihedioha, the PDP , governor of Imo state , after about seven months on the saddle.  He was replaced by Hope Uzodinma, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the APC, Candidate , at the last March , governorship election in the state.

The case of Lyon, the sacked APC,  governor elect is more pitiable, as he saw the governorship Seat in the Government but House but could not Seat on it. This is another sad  story of late Moshood Kashamawole, Abiola, a one-time Presidential Candidate of  the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, who had won the 1993, Presidential election that was nullified by the then self- styled military President , retired General Babangida and his military clique in the  Supreme Military Council, SMC.

Abiola ‘s case was understable. Late Obafemi Awolowo,  the Ogun state born politician, had placed a curse on him that he will see  the Presiential Seat but will not seat on it.  The late sage may have placed the curse on him because of the role he played, using the defunct Concord Newspaper,  founded by him and his enormous wealth to ensure that he did not win the 179 election, which was keenly contested in the Court before it was finally settled by the Supreme Court, which gave victory to late Shehu  Shagari, of the then National Party of Nigeria, NPN.

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